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Sunday, April 30, 2006

You stare straight ahead

I love how we have a spacious garden, a commodity we didn't get to enjoy in Amman prior to moving to this house in October. But October was the beginning of the cold, wet season, so we only started enjoying it recently- and, oh, my! Although I'm not a nature person, having a garden in Amman is absolutely wonderful because the weather is fantastic!

And so, I spent the entire afternoon tanning and eating the shelen eskimo from Jabri, which is probably my very favorite thing in the world, and listening to the sound of the hustling leaves of a birch tree, which is on of my favorite sounds in the world. My mother, who grew up by the sea, says that it sounds like crashing waves. I think it sounds like the hot summers in my grandmothers house, when the world was so hot and all I could do was sit outside and listen to the birch trees.

zooksies 421 zooksies 436

Anyway, tonight I'll be heading off to Beirut for a few days to attend a Danish-Arab dialogue workshop discussing the publication of the cartoons considered offensive to Islam and Muslims and caused tensions worldwide. The workshop will be filmed by film-makers on both sides with the purpose of producing a 26-minutes documentary film which will be placed in documentary film festivals, classrooms at the high-school and university level as well as in the public broadcast media. It should be a really interesting experience.

I'm excited about Beirut, especially as so many of highschool friends live there. I'm also extremely thankful that I'm going to be out of Amman for a week, I'm in the utmost need to distance myself from routine and certain people.

But you wouldn't have to miss me so much. Jameed and Co will probably be airing their newest episode of JameedKast, of which I was the victim. I agreed to be on the podcast but then I found myself regreting it because Iyas and Laith bombarded me with questions that I couldn't answer while keeping a straight face. I haven't listened to it yet, and as I'm not much of a humorous person, I don't know what parts they'll edit out to make me sound funny. Allah yostor.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

: I’m obsessed

"If your heart is in a dream, no request is too extreme, when you wish upon a star, as dreamers do."
-Walt Disney

That was the opening quote I used in an essay I wrote for a class when I was 14 or 15 about what I wanted my career to be like 10 years from then. Seven years later, I find it funny that I used that particular quote- dreamers? Wishing upon a star? It should have been a more grounded quote by Walt Disney, perhaps "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."

I found that essay sitting lonely in a file somewhere in my harddisk while looking for something unrelated earlier today. It's amusing to read something I wrote so long ago, especially as I was in a completely different mindset.

No. I was in a completely different life. Does it sound like the same person?

This is my tribute to a Disney dream that is now reality. Disney has taught me something no tuition and no friend could teach; to set sights to infinity and beyond. Disney is by and large known for "Making the Magic", and it is definitely the "dreamer who does". Whether its dreams are hidden in the heart of a pretty sapphire-clad belle that slumbers until her prince comes or a roller coaster that is ignited to life by the shrieks of those who are soaring through the sky inside it, no one can project a masterpiece of love and dreams so stunningly.

As a child, my parents surrounded my life with the magic of Disney; I went to sleep by gazing at the murals of Snow White on my bedroom walls, I dressed up as Pocahontas to all the costume parties I went to, and I hungrily devoured every word of Disney Weekly on Thursdays. In fact, when I look back at my childhood, I realize that the best phrase to describe it would be "blurb-of-colors". So now, as a young adult, my fantasies are tainted with falling down the rabbit hole to wind up in The Neverland or putting on the fairy-tale slippers to transform into a princess. Consequently, these tainted fantasies and a background full of animation and color lead my mind to renovate everything lackluster I see into a "how-to-make-it-more-pretty" project. After years of feathering doorknobs with fuchsia fluff and concealing paint-stained desktops with tie-dyed pillowcases, I set a life-long goal for myself. This life-long goal, also known as "beautifying", is really nothing more than pixie-dust sprinkled across my world.

I have so far succeeded in giving small scenes in the play that is my life the ability to let my spirits ascend. The scene that is my bedroom, for example, is my candy-land. Being my creation from corner to corner, and filled with handmade uniqueness and simple creations dressed-up, I feel inspired to imagine when I’m in it.

I believe that every human deserves to have such a sanctuary to fade into, but I also believe that not everyone will enjoy inventing love with colors and creativity.
For this reason, I aspire to establish a career that will facilitate me in helping others create such a sanctuary. I want to cultivate the ability to tap into people’s deep-seated desires and to fuse age-old fairytales with brand-new originalities, while also developing my perception of the dissimilar psychological personalities of individuals. I yearn for the ability to transform a fantasy into a multihued, exciting world that individuals can move through cheerfully, touch, and enjoy. I want my hands to have the ability to create a life-sized child’s dollhouse- safe, bright, and swarming with innocent temptation. I want to manage to make poverty seem, well, charming. I want to dream, and I want my career to be the platform of my dreams.

Such fabulous work is the daily business of Imagineers, Graphic Designers, Architects along with Interior Designers, and I hope to be received into one of these professions. I know that I would love to be a part of any of these careers, giving up my heart and soul to fill others lives with beauty. I’m in love with doing such things. Actually, I’m not only in love; I’m obsessed.

Ten years is an eternity away, yet it’s also too close. Human life is sinking with prosaic ebony’s and insipid whites. It is over-involved with everyday realism and practicality to worry about simple things such as colors that harmonize and the minute details that may ember up a classroom that fails to motivate. I know that I will not be able to achieve my lifetime goal like I want it to be achieved it in such a short period, but I do desire to have access to miniature projects in vicinities that need to be sugarcoated. I also hope to accomplish innovation. I aspire to frolic with creativity. I wish that what has filled my life with inspiration and magic will spread to engulf the lives of others.

But most of all, I want to be a part of what started by obsession; I want to work for Disney.

Man, I guess I've been so mphalsapheh my entire life.

Saudi Champagne

One of my favorite beverages is one that is often served in "special" occassions in Saudi Arabia is Saudi Champagne, an improvised concoction of apple juice, lemon perrier, apples, oranges slices and mint. It's quite delicious, and one of the few things I'm willing to replace my meal Pepsi with.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

سخريه القدر

قررت انني "احتقر" اللغة العربيه في الصف الرابع عندما لم أنجح في صف العربي في المدرسة. ذلك الصيف، وفي كل مساء من عطلتي الصيفية المقدسة، كنت أجلسُ في غرفة الطعام ببيت جدتي في عمَان مع معلم للغة العربية أٌراقبُ بغيرة اخوتي و هم يلعبون خلف الشباك. قضيتُ ثلا ث’ أشهر فى هذه الحال و كلُ ما تعلمتهُ ذالك الصيف هو أن "أحتقر" اللغة العربية التي سرقت صيفي مني.

و لم أنجح في صف اللغة العربيه في الصف الخامس ايضا.

بعد ذلك، لم يكن لدي أي اهتمام لوضع اي جهد في تعلم اللغه العربيه. ولأن اللغه العربيه كانت تُدرس في مدرستي كلغه ثانيه، لم أتعلم أكثرمن القراءة البسيطة جدا. حتي هذا اليوم، بعد سنبن عديدة، ما زلت لا احاول أن أكتب باللغة العربية خوفاً من الاخطاء في القواعد و اللأملاء.

انها سخريه القدر ان هذه هي المره الاولي التي أحاول الكتابه بلغتي الام. ابدا.

-كلمة "احتقر" هي تعريب حرفي لكلمة "دسبايز" و التي أستعملها كثيراً

Age: 21

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

I'm just a girl

It's no big secret that I'm a feminist, and my first push into feminism was a song.

Ironically enough, I had completely forgotten about that song until I found a cassette today under the front seat of my car, and as Mood FM was playing sappy music (I can't tolerate sappy music for the life of me), I popped it into my cassette player only to find out that it is a collection of my favorite No Doubt songs. Within a few minutes, I found myself listening preplexed to a song I know so well, a song that, back in 1996, pushed me into the first step of becoming who I am today.

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
I'm exposed, and it's no big surprise
Don't you think I know exactly where I stand?
This world is forcing me to hold your hand
'Cause I'm just a girl, little 'ol me
Don't let me out of your sight
I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don't let me have any rights
The moment that I step outside
So many reasons for me to run and hide
I can't do the little things I hold so dear
'Cause it's all those little things that I fear
'Cause I'm just a girl I'd rather not be
'Cause they won't let me drive late at night
I'm just a girl, guess I'm some kind of freak
'Cause they all sit and stare with their eyes
I'm just a girl, take a good look at me
Just your typical prototype
I'm just a girl in the world...
That's all that you'll let me be!
I'm just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb makes me worry some
I'm just a girl, what's my destiny?
What I've succumbed to Is making me numb
I'm just a girl, my apologies
What I've become is so burdensome
I'm just a girl, lucky me
Twiddle-dum there's no comparison
Oh...I've had it up to here!

Ahh... Those words make me shiver.

It's funny being a feminist in a country where the majority of the populace are mostly machismo pigs. A few days ago, I was having this really heated debate with a few guys about the role of women in society as well as their rights. Our main debate points were the following:

1) I believe with a severe passion that young females should be provided with equal oppurtunities as their male counterparts so that when the day comes when they need to decide whether to become housewives or working women, they have free will in the sense where they are fully aware of their options and the consequences of their decisions. The guys thought that it is a woman's god-given duty to sit at home, cook, clean, and take care of children, "I wouldn't mind if my wife works before we have children, but as soon as we do, I would not get married to someone who wouldn't stay at home to take care of them."
I say, toz. I respect a woman who is herself first and foremost, rather than a mother, a housewife, and a childbearer.

2) I believe that religious rules are mostly outdated. I'll end this point here.

3) I am very much against gender roles. I do not think that it is a woman's god-given duty to cook, clean, and raise, nor is it a man's god-given-duty to provide for the household. A couple may switch roles if it makes them more comfortable. Of course, I'm always attacked severely in regards to this point, "Ba6al zalameh ili bog3od bil beit." It always makes me say, "Mish fahmeh ya3ni, 3eib 3al zalameh yo2-3od bil beit o mish 3eib 3al wa7deh?"
I personally am not willing to be in a relationship where I do not make my own money or at least participate in the budget of maintaining the relationship and all that may involve it including a house, children, and so on and so forth (this is where people usually jump in and scream "With a degree in fine arts?!" Yes, mish 3ajebkom?)

Naturally, after an hour-long debate, the conclusion these guys reached was hilarious- "Roba, you know what happens to women like you? They never get married."

Hehe, I found that absolutely amusing! It's ironic how people think it is more appropriate to be unsatisfied, unhappy, and married than satisfied, successful, and unmarried.

Finally, a story and a question. A while ago, one of my male friends told me with an extra bout of confidence that he would never be with a woman who is smarter or as smart as he is, because as a man and like every other man, he thinks a woman slightly dumber is "easier to manage". I was shocked silly to hear that, especially as he was someone I respected. When I expressed my shock and offense, he simply said, "Come on, Roba, admit it, wouldn't you want to be with a man who is smarter than you? Women like that."

Double whammy. According to this friend, men like dumber women and women like smarter men. Now, I'm posing this question to everyone- what do you think? Do you agree with this person?

Question open to both genders. I would really appreciate honesty, I wouldn't bite anyone I promise.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Made with real fruit (not)

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A few nights ago, I dreamt I was eating Pop Tarts. Pop Tarts! I haven't had Pop Tarts since the 4th grade.

Naturally, I woke up with an extreme craving for them, and after a trip to Cozmos, I was standing in the kitchen microwaving the iced and sprinkled delicious-looking slices of pastry, stuffed with "natural" strawberry, remembering a day when I was a child sitting around the kitchen table waiting for my Pop Tart to be served. Ahh... for that precise instant, I could almost remember the sweetness of the icing (I love icing) and the juiciness of the fill.

Of course, the deliciousness of Pop Tarts turned out to be nothing more than a figment of an overfertile imagination. Or maybe Pop Tarts don't taste the same anymore. Or maybe I'm too old for Pop Tarts. I really don't know.

What I do know though is that they were way-too-sweet, artificially flavored to the degree that it feels like you are eating chemicals, and quite dry.

What a disappointment.

I also tried my very first Caesar salad for lunch this evening. I know, I know, Caesar salads are all over the fricking place, including refrigerated salad meals in CTown, McDonalds and salad bars in every other restaurant in the Amman. But you see, Caesar Salads usually have little cubes of chicken over them and since I'm not willing to eat anything that had contact with chicken, I've never had a Caesar salad. Today, my mother decided to make me a Caesar salad minus the chicken, and it was actually good! Much better than the Pop Tarts.

I feel like eating kubeh nayeh (raw ground beef paste mixed with cracked wheat, eaten with garlic, yum yum).

Oh, yeah, did I ever mention that I love soda?

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Monday, April 24, 2006


Ok. Seriously. I can't take it anymore.

Air Arabia Hijacks South Park

The Air Arabia campaign has been making an appearance all over town for quite some time now. I even thought that the little chubby-faced guy with a tarboush, the tiny little feet, and the half-circle upper body was rather cute, somehow missing the features so characteristic of the potty-mouthed, psycho South Park kids.

Yes, Air Arabia did it. They stole South Park.



Wanna steal a South Park character? All you gotta do is get ziggy with a DIY Create-A-Character generator. Here's me:


Yeah, I know I don't have short pink hair. BUT I REALLY WANT TO HAVE SHORT PINK HAIR.

Razzle Dazzle

I really am a very easily amused person. I enjoy putting words and sentences together- they're even more magical than paint and colors. I enjoy trying to make them not make sense to anyone but me- or at least, I enjoy trying to put them together according to the colors and styles of my whims and fancies rather than try to be as clear as possible for everyone else. There is never a post here that means what it appears to mean, there are always hidden messages lingering between the lines- sometimes meant for specific people, othertimes meant for the smart.

Othertimes, I just write as if some little faery threw a bagful of pixiedust over my words, which are usually overflowing with phalsapheh, compiled of words that don't really match together, and tailored with red beads and sprays of shimmer, soaking my words with overdecorative attachments- sparkle, sparkle.

Oh. My. God. I just realized that my writing style would be best classified as surrealism. Surrealism!

Dude, I hate surrealism. In the world of visual arts, I love what to me is the opposite of surrealism, which is too ungrounded as far as I'm concerned- I love minimalism, pop art, and modernism. I love simplicity, solid space, and grids.

It's quite funny now that I think about it. The artists of the Arabian Gulf are famous for surrealism, and the art critics claim that this is the case due to the general opression in the Arabian Gulf. So I guess my highschool is to blame for my surrealistic writing style, because as I've said before, the only remotely creative class we had was English, which I soaked with my neglected and quite oppressed juices of creativity. And my very wishy-washy style of writing stuck with me, sometimes making me laugh.

Razzle dazzle.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Amman's Aura and Jewels

Amman, originally uploaded by Yazan Malakha.

My favorite thing about Amman her jewel-like mountains, glittering every night regardless of whether you are in the desert or not, because the mountains love to show off these jewels in the dark sky. It blows my mind.

There's this little portion of Jordan Street that is unlit, and it directly overlooks a really tiny village with around a 100 specks white neon light, and there's also Baq3a a little farther left. But there's a mountain that blocks the view of Amman, and you can see her aura. Not so bright, but quite beautiful against the black mountains.

When we were back in Saudi, my dad would take us on a road trip to Sharqeyeh (the Eastern province) during short holidays. On the return journey to Riyadh, which was always quite late at night, we would just drive and drive and drive for hours in the pitch blackness of the vast Saudi desert to the music of Kathem il Saher, Majida il Roumi, and Asala.

I, lacking the ability to nod off in anything other than a bed, would spend all those hours staring out of the window and amusing over how it seemed like someone has spray painted the entire world with a black can of spray paint. I would also stare waiting for my favorite part of those trips- waiting to get closer to Riyadh to see her aura.

Riyadh, Riyadh. Riyadh has so many lights- orange lights mind you. So from the pitch black desert, you could start seeing her aura- a purplish orange haze in the distant horizon of the blackest black sky, and this aura would signal home.

The picture above, taken in Jabal Amman and overlooking downtown, represents Amman to me- jewels of light on neverending mountains.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Bent il Balad

It hasn’t even been three years since we moved to Jordan and I already see that the "Bent il Balad" traits have overcome those of "Bent il Khaleej". People still claim that they can tell that I wasn’t raised in Jordan because of the way I dress ("you look like such a Khaleejeyeh cause you're wearing white on white, who wears white on white?!"). Yet, my wardrobe has less razzle-dazzle and plenty more comfort, and the entire collection doesn't change according to fashion any more.

The drive-thru guy at Burger King looked at me puzzled last week when I told him that I am Bent il Balad after he told me I'm too smiley and that I must be a tourist. Yet, a colleague at school also told me that I look mighty scary with my kashra when I'm behind the wheel.

I wasn't killing myself over arriving 5 minutes late to a meeting a few days back, something the Gulfian Kid in me would have never done. Yet, the other 3 people who were supposed to be there too were 20 minutes late, and so in comparison, I'm still the Gulfian Kid.

But I'm really starting to get comfortable with the "Bent il Balad" persona, jeans, kashra, et all.

(Prelude to a "Banat Il Riyadh" post that should be showing its face somewhere in this space)

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Tickling inspiration

(Did I ever mention that I love MoCo?)

These awesome collages are created with currency by collagist Christopher Wilde. Wilde cuts various shapes out of paper money from around the world to form collages with economic and political undertones and overlays. You can check out a gallery of his work here.

Moving over to yumminess, photographer Meredith Allen snapped shots of slowly dripping ice lollies of familiar cartoon characters set against a clear blue sky in various beach locations over a five-year period. Making me all warmy and fuzzy inside- man, I love the summer. And I love icecream. I really do. I can't wait till the summer really starts and the minimarkets become stocked with the shelen bright red eskimo from Jabri. Yum.




Finally on the list is Ryan Bown who creates geometric forms based on chaos theory, all formed using hundreds of painted cotton swabs. Yes, cotton swabs. Is that cool or what?


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Story of a Piece of Cheese

Direction: Roba Al-Assi
Writing credits: Roba Al-Assi (story)

Genre: Mystery / Documentary
Plot Summary: After invading a cheese factory, the result of 2 hours taking pictures through a belt made of cheese (ok, leather, but let's play pretend).

User Comments: It don't add up
User Rating: **********__ 9.6/10 (11 votes)

Vote Here

Complete credited cast:
Roba Al-Assi's belt (now lost), Ruba Haddad (professor), Noor Sawalha (student), Odai Nemri (student), Sultan Petro (student), Tamara El-Sheikh (student), Dina Hallaq (student), Hala Qattan (student), Raed (technician), Marah Arafat (student), Khuzama Judeh (student)

Runtime: 50 seconds
Country: Jordan
Language: Visual
Color: RGB
Sound Mix: None
Certification: None

Student1: What are we doing?
Student2: Miss! Ma binla7e2!
Professor: Roba, stop taking pictures!
Professor: 7atojlootoni

(click on a circle)

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Monday, April 17, 2006

toot archaeological expedition discovers the oldest and largest pavement ever!

I cracked up when I saw this post on the tootlog documenting the finding of an unbelieavably high pavement somewhere in this wonderful city.

Man, that's so high it's hilarious.
George has an equally hilarious post accounting for why this pavement is so high, and I must say I like the second reason because it has kept my pants dry at JU and I'm a tall, tall girl so I have no problem getting on the pavement ;)
With such fantastic road architecture (is there such a thing?), no wonder you can always hear the cars screaming "toot! toot!" . I mean, everyone has something to say!


The events in Egypt are unbelievably depressing. What's religion good for if all it does is kill people? Arabs, regardless of whether they're Muslim or Christian, should seriously stop taking religion so literally and start learning to look at it's more spiritual side.

Egyptians on the issue:

Big Pharaoh
Freedom for Egyptians
Jar Il Qamar (Arabic)
Justice For Everyone (Arabic)
Tay Il Motasel (Arabic)

Sad times.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Summer in the city

zooksies 182

zooksies 166

zooksies 167

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Friday, April 14, 2006

What say you?

I want to be an elve.

I also want a bow and an arrow.
Or a sword.

Turning bytes to bites

So today was another Jordan Planet meet-up. I'm not in a very blabbery mood, so I will redirect you to posts by Jad and Khalidah, and just share these pictures.

JP Meetup

JP Meetup

JP Meetup

JP Meetup

JP Meetup

JP Meetup

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Main Entry: in·dif·fer·ence

Pronunciation: in-'dif-&rn(t)s, -'dif-(&-)r&n(t)s
Function: noun

n 1: unbiased impartial unconcern 2: apathy demonstrated by an absence of emotional reactions [syn: emotionlessness, impassivity, impassiveness, phlegm, stolidity, unemotionality] 3: the trait of lacking enthusiasm for or interest in things generally [syn: apathy, spiritlessness] 4: the trait of remaining calm and seeming not to care; a casual lack of concern [syn: nonchalance, unconcern]

I hate my absolute inability to feel indifference. Sometimes, the only thing I want is to just not give two shits.

Knock, knock

zooksies 009

Oh, my, God, this is so exciting- today I saw the first watermelon tent being set up, officially signalling the nearness of summer. Yipee, me is a summer person.
Blogging is awesome. Last year on April 12th, I got as excited when I saw them setting up this same tent in this same spot and whipped up a post about it. Today is also April 12th. Freaky, or else these watermelon tent people are really organized.

Nerds. Make. Better. Lovers.

As a teenager, I had always considered myself to be a nerd, except unlike popular opinion, I never thought that being a nerd was a bad thing. I was always top tier in anything I ever did, I was always a straight-A student, all my homework were always perfectly done, and I always wanted to understand every single thing possible. Perfectionist, I guess you can say. Or over-achiever. But I personally preferred, and still prefer, the rawness of the word "nerd", which I proudly labeled myself as, ignoring the pink hair, the over-pierced ears, the obnoxious loudness, the bright red glasses, the baggy jeans and tiny tops. You see, I was also the ultimate multi-hair-colored mean airhead- I ditched all the time, there was never a party that I didn't dance in, I was a bully to losers, and there was never a fashion trend that I didn't try.

Contradiction? I think not- it's just that people are stupid at labeling.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that labeling is bad, I actually think it's good, sorta like corporate branding, it's just that people are stupid at making good use of it. You choose the labels according to what you're comfortable with- that is, labeled people.

Anyhow, highschool finished, and art school started, and although the A's and perfect homework keep rolling in, you can simply never be a nerd in art school, because people just don't label the part of the populace wasting their time with colors and stuff as nerds. So I became labeled a geek (never by the real geeks mind you, because to them, I'm just an artsy-fartsy impractical wheeee-lover who doesn't know about anything but colors and stuff).

I'm really not comfortable with labeling myself with the word "Geek" though, because I don't feel like I have earned it. Yeah, sure, I do spend way too much time on the computer, I have met a lot of my very good friends through the bits and bytes of cyberspace, I am obsessed with The Lord of the Rings, and I do know way too many things about geeky-stuff that a 21-year-old female studying fine arts and design really does not need to know. But I don't know PHP, do I? I don't use Linux either. Or watch Star Wars.

But then again, the fact that I've been sitting trying to "blog" these thoughts for the past 2 hours at 3:35 AM on a weekday may as well make up for all of the above, and I'm still trying to figure out where to fit in the two very things that influenced this post. Ok, I guess that sort of makes space below doesn't it?

The first influence was a podcast about labels- who are you? After discussing labels, they end the cast with, "Listen in, and then tell us, what does your label say?"

The second influence was much cooler and which probably deserved a post all about it (and as you can tell from the title, this post was meant to be all about it), it's an article entitled "Nerds Make Better Lovers" (via Saudi Jeans). And really, they do.

Perhaps a year back, Linda wrote a post asking people what their ideal mate was, and I wrote a whole long post that, for some reason or another, I never got to publish. Excerpt:

"Generally, the most important thing in "my perfect man" is brains, to an extreme degree. I just go ga-ga for a person who is well educated, well read, and socially, politically, culturally and scientifically aware. I actually consider it an enjoyable experience when I'm around a person who can challenge me intellectually, who knows a lot about everything, and who always has an answer. I don't think I can do with someone who can't teach me something new everyday.

I also find passion [adj : having or expressing strong emotions] a necessary trait, and not in the romantic sense. I am, by nature, excessively passionate, and so I generally find it impossible to comprehend the mentalities of average-achievers, the jaded, and the smug. I believe that passion is the road to success, and success- not particularly a financial one mind you, but one in a much broader sense- is vital to me. I respect someone who has reached a certain level with who he and where he is in life."

That's pretty much a part of the definition of "geek", "nerd" and "overachiever". And I hold that true to my heart.

Ok, enough blabbing, it's 4:00 AM and I have to wake up in 3 hours. You know, I'm actually a very untalkative person in real life- I'd usually rather just listen.

Main: AndFarAway.net

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The first thing I noticed when I entered Jordan University several years ago was the plethora of quite hideous signage ligning up the walls of most of its buildings- official signage posted by the university staff, inofficial signs posted by students, as well as plenty of Islamist "graffiti" in the form of stickers. With time, I came to realize that each building (usually representing different faculties) has sort of developed its own style of signage that sets it apart from the rest, both in content and style, and I became really fascinated with the chaos of JU's infographics, watching out for new signs in the buildings I took classes in.

You see, I grew up in a very "organized" way. In the highschool I went to for example, they were very peculiar about visual pollution and the fact that tape may leave marks on walls. The only form of signage you could see was perfectly printed plates of metal screwed to the tiled walls, sort of like this sign, minus the curves and the stuff sticking out.

Comparatively, the signage rules at Jordan University are non-existant, you can literally fill the walls with anything you want before someone else decides that his/her signs are more worthy of wall space.

This post is meant to take a look at the signage in the Physics Department, which I have the pleasure of taking 3 classes in (thus, I spend at least 3 hours a day there). The Physics Department's signage is quite great when compared to signage in other departments, notably the Engineering Department, the Languages Department, and the Islamic Shareea' Department. For one thing, they use the simplest form possible, mainly Sharpies, scotch tape, and colored paper. The content circles around silence and smoking, and there is also a notable lack of Islamist graffitti, which is more than I can say for most other departments.

On smoking:

"Smoking Not Allowed- Don't be the reason of the harm of others"

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"This Building is Smoke Free"

On Silence:

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"Please maintain silence"

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"Sitting on the stairs is not allowed"

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"Grouping in hallways is not allowed"

Islamist Graffitti:
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"Mohammad- our souls are yours. Defend your Prophet. Al-Omareya Schools"

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"The Martyr the Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, was martyred during a cowardly assassination on Monday, the 13th of March, 2004. The Islamic Front, The Departments of Science and Information Technology"

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"The story of a nation that never died and will never die. The Islamic Student Union"

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"It is not permissible to enter these rooms, there are tools that are (illegible word)."

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"To the phsyics labs of first year students"

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"Important Notice * * *
This lab is only for the use of the following students:
- Graduate Students/ Computer Physics
- Al-Rozam Il Barmajeyah
- Fine Arts and Design Department"

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"Pretty Loozan"

Ok, the one above isn't a sign, it was drawn by a fellow design student on one of the chalkboards in the department, but it's been there for a while...

Main: AndFarAway.net

Sunday, April 09, 2006


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to bits
Jabal Amman, sometime in early February

" ... the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure. In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy."
-Carl Sagan, 1980



Main: AndFarAway.net

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Roba, check this out!"

My brothers can be really endearing, especially when they communicate with me digitally when I'm physically sitting right behind them. For example, a few days ago, I get on the PC in order to check my email, and I am surprised to find this document open in MS Word:

Of course, they had to misspell my name on purpose as they know how much that pisses me off. They wouldn't be brothers if they don't try to piss their eldest sister off would they?

Another way for them to show their brotherly love is moralistic stories saved on the desktop just for me (admittedly, they can be more responsible than myself when it comes to matters of 3eib o mish 3eib, such as messiness, having to go see my aunts, and stuff like that. The latest story on my desktop titled "Roba, check this out" is about the internet, and how it is not the anwser to everything.

(Click on image to read the story)

I told you they're endearing.

Baskin Robbins Rebranding: Yay or Nay?

I was surprised to see today on 2:48 AM that Baskin Robbins have rebranded. We don't have a Baskin Robbins in Amman, but I seriously miss that stuff(especially their cookie dough icecream).

Baskin Robbins new logo

In their new logo, which I don't like at all, the colors stay the same but look more concentrated as the new font is heavier, and the aligned letters in the old logo are not aligned anymore. The "31" is still there, except its not as clear- I think it looks odd.

So what do you guys say? Yay or nay?

Main: AndFarAway.net

Friday, April 07, 2006


Moving over to Egypt, me is very, very disappointed.

A fatwa issued by Egypt's religious authority forbidding the display of statues has raised fears that it could be used as an excuse to destroy the country's historical heritage.


That is just purely pathetic. It makes my blood BOIL. And Egypt from all countries!

Egypt, where the first Arab Academy of Fine Arts was established! Egypt, the home of some of the most talented sculptures the Arab world has ever had, such as Mahmud Mukhtar! If my memory serves me right, Egypt was also the first Muslim country to issue that logical fatwa that said that sculptures for arts sake are perfectly alright.

Man... I'm in disbelief, ya 3ammi don't bully the fine arts, they're already bad off as it is, go bully the porn industry, starting with your exports, such as Ruby, Sabeen, and Boosy.


Oh, yeah, while talking about this fantastic world we live in today, we should all also should also probably stop singing in public, because anti-terrorism detectives have been stopping people who sing "suspicious" music. Dead serious. A man was actually escorted from a plane after a taxi driver had earlier become suspicious when he started singing along to a track that happens to be one of my favorite songs- "London Calling" by The Clash (Boing Boing).

Come out of the cupboard,you boys and girls
The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin


(The world can be so funny)

Behold, oh, World, from the bits and bytes of webspace belonging to my favorite Arabic blogger (yes, the same guy who believes that the word "bye" is a mighty conspiracy against our convictions and that blogging in English automatically means that you are shallow, cultureless, and lacking in self-confidence), let me present The Official Community of the Saudi Bloggers, lovingly dubbed OCSAB.

You see, I'm all for communities and stuff, I really am, but I'm also all for- em... how do I put this nicely... ok, nevermind, I won't even try, I will just redirect you to what some of my very favorite bloggers wrote on this issue, so please proceed to the lores of Farooha, Saudi Jeans, and Mr. Sandmonkey.

What I will share though are the terms you must comply to in order to join The Official Community of the Saudi Bloggers.

The terms, as translated from their site by darling Farooha, are as follows:

1- That the blog does not touch on Islam improperly in any way or shape, which thereby rules out blogs that call to secularism and liberalism.
Because, you know, secularism and liberalism are the highways to hell *humming AC/DC's "I'm on the Highway to Hell"- me loves AC/DC*. No, wait, they're not the highways to hell, they're the exact opposite of Islam.
Man, how do these people think?

2- Seeing as how the community is for Saudi bloggers, naturally then, the blog must be run by a Saudi.
Ok, that's all cool, me agrees, except that Saudi women are apparently not considered Saudi. Or are they not human? Or they can't be parts of communities?
Saudi chick bloggers kick ass. They do. Respect.

3- Since we exert much effort into maintaining an elevated level of blogging, the language in use must be Arabic. An exception: Blogs with a non-Arabic speaking audience are excluded, only on the condition that they call to Islam or reflect a pleasant image of Saudi Arabia.
Elevated? Well, boo hoo hoo! That's the best way to make sure that the content of The Official Community of the Saudi Bloggers revolves around boycotting Denmark, posting crappy love poetry, and arguing over whether it is ok for women to watch football matches or not.
And dude, if you are so against the English, why the heck is your name in English? Especially since you got it all wrong. The "the" is actually not a part of your name, and the second "the" after community is completely unnecessary. Me thinks you should not use a language you so despise.

And don't you just love the double standards? Exceptions, exceptions.

Nice, eh?

I add my voice to the chorus- BOOOOOOOOOO!

Main: AndFarAway.net

Thursday, April 06, 2006

3 conversations with stop

Pictures 866
Amman, 2003

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Amman, 2006

Riyadh, 2001